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Situating Austerity: The impact of locality on lived experience in austere times

A BSA Early Career Event

1 July 2021
University of Gloucestershire, via Zoom - DOWNLOAD PROGRAMME

About the Event

Lived experience of poverty in a time of economic austerity and downturn is hugely impacted by locality. This unique event aims to bring to the fore how locality and place are entangled in the everyday struggles of populations hit hardest by severe cuts to public spending and economic decline. Across different localities, we can see the impact of austerity measures play out in different ways, especially within the current context of Coronavirus restrictions. Whether it be research situated in London, where extreme wealth and poverty coexist side-by-side; seaside towns around the country with high levels of deprivation; ex-industrial towns and cities that have struggled in a changing economy; or areas that have seen regeneration and gentrification- the specificities of locality will shape the narratives of those hardest hit by restricted public spending and economic decline.

This event aims to open up discussion about the relationship between experiences of austerity and locality, whilst also reflecting upon the host university’s place identity- an affluent spa town where austerity still bites hard in certain communities. The event aims to draw together academics, third sector representatives and community organisations to discuss how locality shapes experiences of austerity and consider potential policy recommendations and ways forward which can improve the lives of people living on the margins. This is particularly important now more than ever as we see the disparate impact of Coronavirus restrictions across localities in the UK.


Living Legacies of Austerity - Dr Sarah Marie Hall, University of Manchester
The devastating impacts of austerity in the UK have compounded and accentuated inequalities and social differences, with policies levelled at the most intimate and personal elements of people’s everyday lives. This talk turn towards thinking about the legacies of austerity, the ways in which social policies also have a social life, which are emplaced and situated, lived and embodied. Taking inspiration from the etymological roots of the term, where legacy refers to inheritance, gifting or passing on through generations, in this talk I think about austerity in and through the life-course. Drawing on Oral Histories and Futures carried out in 2020 with people living in the North East of England, the findings highlight that austerity has deep, lasting social consequences that are situated in space-time and outlast the policies themselves.

The Free Food Places - Dr Kate Haddow, Teesside University
Since 2010 we have witnessed a huge surge in the amount of three-day emergency food parcels distributed by the Trussell Trust. Foodbank use is a phenomenon that has gained precedent over the last ten years and has been subject to much media attention and a growing body of academic research. This research presents findings from research that took place in Middlesbrough from October 2017 – July 2018, with a predominantly all male group about their experiences of navigating food insecurity and the use of ‘hidden forms’ of food aid, mainly by using faith-based charities. By employing both ethnography and semi-structured interviews with service users, volunteers, and stakeholders this research has drawn on the narratives of those who are permanently food insecure and who are hidden from the current statistics concerning food insecurity. This research is not just confined to the issue of food insecurity but also other wider issues of deep poverty and social exclusion. This research provides a contribution to what ‘hidden’ localised forms of food aid look like, beyond the national network of large franchises such as the Trussell Trust. The findings indicate that food insecurity is a growing problem, particularly regarding the lack of overarching cohesive data gathering covering all types of food aid.


The event fees are a follows:

  • FREE for BSA members
  • £10 for non-members

Funded Places Available

The BSA are kindly offering five free places to attend this event to support low/non-waged delegates. If you would like to apply for a free place, please complete the short survey by 11 June 2021. The five places will be allocated randomly after this date.

It may also be possible to provide subsidies for ECRs, PhD students, those on low-incomes or without institutional affiliation. Please enquire to Louise Folkes if required.

A Zoom link will be sent to you beforehand, along with instructions on how to join for those of you new to Zoom. We hope you can join us.